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tv   U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan  CSPAN  October 10, 2017 10:32am-12:01pm EDT

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.r do that and do the job stop the immigrants coming in here. in the 1950's, my father-in-law .as a cotton farmer all of them back then decided how many workers they need and they would contact the governor -- government official and they auld go to mexico and pick up number of workers and take care of them. when the cotton was picked, that really worked good back then. all of these big vegetable farms could do that and get all of the workers they need. we could do that with specialized people we need. they need to learn english and assimilate into our society. >> we will go it.
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debating afghanistan. we are looking at the u.s. strategy going forward to. this is just getting underway. >> they typically include the al qaeda and other terrorist groups , strengthening the government and security horses, preventing the taliban from taking clinical power. assessments of our progress to date are mixed. stated we aretis not winning in afghanistan right now. one could say it's not for a lack of effort. the estimates of what we have's and range from $840 billion to over $2 trillion.
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report by the inspector general or afghan reconstruction $70d the u.s. has spent billion to train security forces , that had been hampered by corruption and inadequate oversight and the government is struggling to defeat the taliban. control the percent of the country. in august, there will be a moderate troop surge. were leery of war without very -- victory. unwilling tos seem lock away, but will number are reluctant to continue the war in definitely. strategy reflects the public mood.
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there is a time to discuss a way forward. as the united states win president trump prompts -- promised to do? comectory is too costly candidate negotiated these bring victory? can we secure our interest without a military presence in the country? panel todayxcellent to consider these questions. is a graduateker of the u.s. military academy at west point. the serve in iraq followed by three tours in afghanistan. completed army ranger
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training and was assigned to the infantry during the search. he went to afghanistan as part of a construction team. he returned to the united states for additional training and was assigned to the mountain division where he commanded troops in kandahar. degree ina masters studies from georgetown diversity. he graduated from fort leavenworth earlier this year. he is the executive officer of the fourth battalion, the old guard. remarks we will hear from the three other panelists. a senior fellow in foreign policy at the brookings institute, he is a professor at columbia, princeton, and
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syracuse universities. he was a member of the advisory board to the cia until 2012. he is the author of many books. he has written three marginal program fromnew brookings. published several hundred andd in major newspapers cents 2001, has appeared more than 3000 times on television and radio. in international affairs from princeton. our second speaker is a
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professor of political silence at george washington university. he has written about how social science can inform defense policy. his book was published i princeton in 2000 or. it one for prizes and. articles inshed leading journals including national security. he has testified many times before congress, including in the wars in iraq and afghanistan. he served on general petraeus is strategic team in baghdad. he was a senior advisor to general petraeus in washington in 2008 and 2009. he was awarded the civilian
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service medal in 2003 and 2006. he won the commanders award in 2007. he has a phd from harvard. our final speaker is a visiting fellow. he is a retired colonel in the u.s. air force. research interests include national security, terrorism, and,. he has published in the washington post, newsweek, and other outlets. he is a doctoral candidate at george mason. he received mas from george washington and the staff college. two cato co-author of papers.
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one is available from hardcopy and also online. for you aailable recent article. eric has organized the event. he would like to begin by telling a story about his exploits in afghanistan. >> good morning to all. we served together in afghanistan. 2010.going to go back to you're in southern afghanistan. imagine the banjos playing in the distance. a long view is behind us and we call of duty. he is winning. nco from oursenior operations center. they have detected three
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insurgents 1200 meters outside of our base, putting a bomb in the road and. we put through the checklist of things we could do. none of them make any sense. there could be civilian casualties. our presence would be announced to early. max comes up with a completely unsound plan if it was anybody except for max. we have three insurgents that have been identified. i will take a team. against ang to go out team of at least three and we assume there will be more. i readily agreed. i said go do that. it is pitch black red he is going to don his 65 pounds of gear and history teammates. night vision goggles are on.
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there is zero depth perception. he is going to traverse a mile. you can't go in a straight line. he is going to go up and down a river bed. combat,re old man go in the operations center. i watch him cruising along. about two thirds of the way, i see him leave to teammates. it is now max and one man going against three known insurgent. i figure his stress level is high. he is running in the dead of night. he is about to have a lethal encounter. the stillness of the night to reps. he and his team have wounded one insurgent, detained a second, the third one got away. we have detonated the ied.
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there is no casualty whatsoever of u.s. forces. may i introduce the audacious maxwell pappas. [applause] thanks for the introduction. i hope i can live up to that. tom here as a citizen discuss my time in afghanistan. i want to share a tactical perspective and challenges with policies we discuss. when it gets down to the person on the ground, it's not necessarily as clean as we think it is at the higher levels. begin, this is not representing an official line from the army or the department
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of defense. i just want to start off with that. anybody who is well-versed in theign policy knows that counterinsurgency in 2006 serve as a guide for the surge in iraq. we thought it was going fairly well. it focuses on training host nations and security forces and addressing grievances and transitioning that authority. i want to talk about my experience. it's mostly on the tactical side. i was the point on the reconstruction.
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for perspective, this is may 2010. i am going through a small village. there might be 1000 people living there. we were just ambushed. i was trying to rectifier and convince afghans they want to shoot this direction instead of that direction. i see my counterpart at the time. hewas 50 years old and continued to survive in afghanistan. that is an accomplishment. he was the district leader, the district chief in the province. it gets very complicated very quickly. he comes over to me while were getting shot it. he yells at me.
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looked at my interpreter. he laughs and thinks it's funny. he said he doesn't take that we are welcome here. story of my time in afghanistan. what we were trying to accomplish is the implementation of the support of governance. inwe begin to deploy february that year into afghanistan, what we determined was probably the place we could make the most money was making the lowest part of the government at the district level through the cultural and travel leaders that exist as the way it had been governed for a millennia. connection, we
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thought about touch time. when we interacted with f dance -- afghans, we maximized the time. chancese us additional to take part in any information we had so we can be successful in afghanistan. the other part of that was improving the time between the government and the tribal leaders. outside, attempting to bring the district chief, the ,mbodiment of the government trying to bring them to the village so we can have a collection of elders to discuss and determine some of the grievances these people had in order to deal with the problems. , not to offend
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anybody from alabama, it is the alabama of afghanistan. it is a very depressed area and very socially conservative by afghan standards. they are uninterested when outsiders come into their area. when we bring the government of afghanistan, there is going to be resistance. that day, we fight to that ambush, we get to the village and inside the village, the district chief who is empowered district,der of that nobody shows up and that's not ok. that doesn't give you a lot of confidence. .e round up the police are rounding up
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people in order to have this meeting. he understood bureaucracy and not necessarily governance, he understood how to interact with people. he said your ambush didn't stop me. the government of afghanistan is here. that wrote the ice. -- broke the ice. it wasn't super successful. ofre was 30 or 40 minutes discussion. that was the first time we had made it to that village. we leave. we get ambushed again because that's how it works. we say in a week we are going to go back. touch points.
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it's integrating ourselves into there. we didn't have much money to throw at them. what would we build? they don't need anything. they use faith in their government. guys aren't ever here. why should we trust the government? we needed to demonstrate a little bit of consistency. we went back. we get ambushed. it did not take as long this time because we knew it was going to happen. we go in there and this time, shut up for the meeting. wasn't owing to scare us away. he was able to demonstrate that the government was going to be there. baseline piece of what we were trying to attempt to not solvinghat's
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problems. that's giving people faith that somebody is there. that was one of the major challenges we had in terms of supporting governments. later, in 2013 i go back. some things have changed. the idea of creating sustainable solutions and empowering the local government to increase the connection hasn't gone away. in 2013, i redeployed. i was part of a security force assistance for grade. -- brigade. we talked about those four pillars at the beginning. security force assistance was the idea we could have specially
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tailored u.s. military that are supposed to integrate with the tohan army area -- army improve their capability. we deployed and we are spread out. we have to reduce the size of the u.s. forces. we were taking risk. we had security force teams that had to develop a personal relationship with the afghans they were working with. that was their security. there were only 10 or so at any time. you have to rely on that personal relationship. that's what a lot of them did. , i got ae challenges phone call from my squad commander. he said i need you to all your teams back.
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we are surrounded area i pulled my teammates back. said they were just shot. incidentreeing on blue . that was a significant one. it was the first one we had. we thought we had neck that one. . we had built that relationship. it was a cultural difference. in the afghan army, that is a challenge to authority. he told a company commander that he did not do his job properly. he was offended and his response was to kill to senior u.s. officers. aen you're job is to be security brigade, how difficult
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is it to regain that trust on the u.s. side? i need to go back out there and people aree when being killed by the people you are there to help. it's difficult. when we say security force assistance, we are going to implement change in our presence there itself is not enough. we have to have faith and the courage that i will take up my body armor so i can interact with you. that's tough sometimes. time.oing to run out of say, theuld like to war in afghanistan has been a struggle. it's not a struggle because of a of resources.ck it's very complex.
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it's like trying to build a house while you're being shot at. as the carpenter who knows how to the house, it's going to disrupt his job. experts you need in order to do the technical job, they are not always available. , i was advising amount to run a district. that is not sincerely the wheelhouse. i don't know the ins and outs of the bureaucracy. it won't this is really have all the parts. that is unfortunately what we see a lot of the time. we have people building a house in afghanistan. they are trying to build this country back up.
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sometimes all the bureaucracy doesn't work right because we don't have the ability to get the technical experts on how the government works in the places it were to make sure our policy is good or make sure something else is working properly. it is difficult. when you add on the social and cultural differences and the language difficulties, if you don't have an interpreter, you can have conversations with somebody where nobody knows what you are saying. the i would like to say is u.s. army and the military in itself is not the best tool for rebuilding a nation. often times, it's the only one we have. ourselves as u.s. people to sacrifice.
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they are going to give their lives trying to rebuild and partner with the afghan soldiers. we'll it to them to make sure we get it as close to write as possible. i hope my discussion helps improve that. i hope it improves the quality of the decisions we are making. thank you very much. i appreciate it. [applause] >> those were moving remarks and very informative. good morning, everyone. thank you for the opportunity to be here. i have one quick note. today is an important day in baseball. even if the nats don't have a good postseason, i want to commend them on a great season.
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spans,want to ask arc of how greedy can you be? is it one championship enough? i'm going to segue into afghanistan. i am not greedy. i am not looking for a stellar out come. even though i support the , we will hear from others and from you in the conversation. i do support the decision. i don't see it as a pathway to resounding victory. i think the stakes in afghanistan are more modest. they boil down to making sure we're not attacked again by plan organized by an afghan territory as we were on 9/11. a and aur presence in
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stand which may have to last four many years helps our flank in a broader regionwide struggle against violent extremism. privilege of writing a piece in the wall street journal. this is a generation long struggle against extremism. we need to wage that successfully. the afghan presence is the most logical place. in some ways, the presence in south asia is not a nationbuilding effort. it is not bailing out ace shape -- and ship. the existence of this ongoing violent extremist threat, you're going to need assets to deal with that. you're going to have locations
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in which you can handle that threat. the only thing standing in the way of a rivalry with the taliban is -- i would be willing to consider that. at the moment i would like to argue this is creation of an american strategic asset in a geographically important part of the broader central command theater. my first point is to underscore how i see the stakes and the broader strategic purpose. thingsto do four more briefly before turning it over and the discussion with all of you. i want to talk about what are our realistic goals for president trump's strategies that has been fleshed out by recent congressional testimony by secretary mathis and other statements from other parts of
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the u.s. government. what are realistic goals in the foreseeable future? one of the main things we are doing with these additional forces and other capabilities that hopefully can help us achieve realistic goals, how long will it take, and what is the role for negotiation? beyond the question of strategic stakes, what are more realistic operational goals, what are the main concepts we are doing with added resources on the ground, what are the timelines we have to think about for this kind of a strategy to have any chance, and what if any role can we aspire to with negotiations with the taliban and the afghan government? roles, and realistic chris alluded to the kinds of things i want to talk about here. he mentioned by u.s. intelligence estimates as repeated by the special inspector general for reconstruction which does these thatts every few months,
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there is an estimate that the afghan government only controls about 60% of the country. to be more precise, that is actually the broad number, and none of these estimates are exactly, but the report says 57% of the territories and 62% of the population are under government control. is under0% or so taliban control, and the remaining 30% or so is contested. and that is the deterioration over the last half decade, and especially over the last two to three years from an earlier figure of the governor -- government having maybe 70% control of the territory and population. what i would like to see as an attainable goal that the president could achieve in his first term is to reverse the momentum or the direction by which those numbers are changing. if we have gone from roughly 70% government to control to 60%, i
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would like to see us aspire to 65% to 70% under government control by the end of 2020. general john allen and i read about that recently after the president gave his speech on afghanistan policy, endorsing that kind of a policy that was attainable. that sounds like splitting hairs, a different version of a and if wetalemate, want to have that debate, we should have that debate today. a lot of what has been happening in afghanistan in the last two to three years is a function of psychology and perceived momentum. the taliban think they are winning, which is part of why for a near-term negotiation option. i do not think they will negotiation for anything less than a surrender and the government of afghanistan today. we have to change that perception. pakistani intelligence
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services, which are continuing to aid and abet or at least condone the taliban, and the pentagon officials have testified to yet again this week in washington. if we are going to change that calculus of the pakistani intelligence, a daunting proposition, we have to show that the defeat of ghani and the afghan government is not inevitable, but there is a that the chance taliban can be held off, even though nato has downsized dramatically since the peak of when wen that period got up to nearly 100,000 troops and nearly 150,000 nato and nato-led troops. now we are only about 10% of that figure, 15,000. we are probably headed up to 20,000 with the current trumps strategy. it will be dramatically smaller, but we will have enough capability for a decent chance of reversing this momentum.
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to me, that is the goal we should be hoping for him and i think it would be important psychological effects on the taliban, on the pakistani intelligence services that support the taliban, and certainly on afghans, many of whom had been leaving the who camefter a lot back after 9/11. it has been trickling out in this period of declining morale because there has been a sense of gradual slippage, that that country is gradually being lost. if that can be changed, you could reverse the flow also of the young afghans, many of whom i have met and admired, who are trying to build a new country. a have a lot of work ahead of them, but i think they have a chance as long as they believe in the mission and they stay to complete it. when i say mission here, i'm talking more broadly than a military mission. goals.re the realistic
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i cannot prove they will be achieved by president trump's new strategy. i think it is important to caution as an advocate and supporter of that strategy at the president's talk of victory is to my mind unrealistic and probably not even productive because it raises expectations too high. i have a lower set of standards that i think may the attainable and would be important if we could achieve them. so what are we going to do with these extra forces? let me clarify the numbers further. there are a lot of numbers getting around out there, and those of us who are in the unclassified world do not know the exact numbers anyway. that is partly deliberate. secretary mattis has been clear, as as president trump, they do not believe in giving the information to the american public. we do know a fair amount about the current troop configurations and what will happen with the reinforcements. up until president trump's
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speech this summer, we had 8400 americans in afghanistan in uniform. we have gradually learned over the years that there have been additional00 to 4000 temporary forces on any given deployment or time. the u.s. number has been probably around 12,000 in the last year or two, even though the official number, the people base their from seven to 12 months has been 8400. we have been at about 12,000 u.s. and another 5000 nato and in thertner countries, range of 70,000 or 18,000 total foreign forces in afghanistan. growing by currently 2000 to 5000. and 24,000ween 20000 troops as these reinforcements arrived. to 1/7 still only 1/6 of that we had in the peak when
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i had the opportunity and privilege to travel with others to afghanistan. in that period of time, it was amazing to see what was being done on the ground. you also had with knowledge as a supporter of the mission that these guys often deserve better than they were getting from their afghan partners, from their american political system, what have you. but i still thought they come to secure amount, and there is in many ways the basis for at least some modest progress towards the standards i outlined before. you might say if you are cysts -- a skeptic, why can't we get done with 20,000 troops what we could not get done with 50,000? a fair question. one other streets going to do? what they will do primarily is get on the field at advisors to units that are in combat of the enemy. raises risks for american
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forces who have been largely confined to headquarters and training facilities in the last couple years. there is going to be a larger number on the field, the way we've been operating in iraq in the fight against isis the last two years, so there will be more of that. many of these units in the afghan army and police have very, very young leadership. it has really not gotten that strong yet because a lot of there you should -- their -- but we speak over is that of the in the field mentoring with them when president obama accelerated the drawdown in decisions he made in through 2015. we have not had free use of american air power. we have been restricted to cases where american forces were under direct threat or we saw al qaeda or isis targets. senator matus and president
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trump and others are going to a now -- to allow air power even to support afghan army units who are the ones leading that fight today. so air power and mentoring are the main things we will be doing differently than we have been doing differently. excessive use of air power. we have touched on the timelines , so i can summarize by saying the following -- i think this will be an indefinite mission, not at the level of 20,000 to 24,004 troops, but i would less be honest with you as a person is worth this operation and has tried to take through this in longer terms if i did not acknowledge it could be a decade or more, and i use the expression a generation-long struggle. i'm not promising a mini surge, we will come home in 2022. you cannot support this kind of a strategy if you have that as a requirement that we would be able to come home within five years. i do not think a complete
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departure is going to be in the cards in that timeframe. i hope we can return to the timeframe, but that is the most i would aspire to. there are variables. what does pakistan do in terms of secretary -- century in terms of the how about? to what extent does a broader extremist threat percolate in that region? afghan politics, whether there is a good election there for the parliament next year, a good election for the presidency in 2019, whether the very gradual process of fighting corruption that i think president ghani has made progress them which has which hasrogress, borne some fruit. setting up corruption when they see it. they acknowledge some of the strategies that government has used under the present had made headway from their recent love report that's recent report. -- recent report.
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in terms of those who were hoping for a negotiated outcome with a taliban, and steve may or may not speak to this, i am a full supporter of that as long as it is not a surrender. right now i fear the only kind of deal that might be doable with a group that thinks it is winning is effectively a surrender. it becomes a power-insurance arrangement. giving them be certain governorships in the southeast, supervised, under their control, i'm open to that kind of framework for discussion. i fear we have to reverse that battlefield momentum before we can be there and have a realistic chance, and i hope president trump's strategy might get us to that place of reversing momentum. thanks. [applause] mr. preble: mike has handed to
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me the issue of -- and i'm happy to talk about negotiation, that it is important to set it into context first. after 16 years of this conflict, our range of outcomes is a lot more than it was in 2001. the range of options is a lot narrower. i suspect the panel will agree we are not going to get anything that would conventionally look like military victory in afghanistan regardless of what policy choice we adopt. when the president talks about victory, i suspect either is not thinking very hard about what that means. probably not a fan of the 19th century prussian -- we talked about defining victory and defeat in terms of political objectives rather than destroying the enemy. we are not going to destroy the enemy. i think the range of possible outcomes for this campaign at this point is somewhere between the collapse of the afghan government and a return to 1990's atomized civil warfare,
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and a compromised negotiated settlement that does not look like a taliban surrender instrument either, that involves us giving something and then givingsomething -- them something. that is where the range of possible outcomes lies at the moment. things that the united states could adopt to pursue getting closer to the likelihood of a negotiated settlement that involves some art of compromise or a simply sacrifice of those interests engaged, amounts to somewhere between complete withdrawal, which is a possible choice for the united states, and something that looks like 24,000 troops on the ground to advise, airstrikes,, and expenditure of u.s. treasury on something of $30order of $15 billion to $30ion and a year -- billion a year.
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negotiation this complicated --l take quite a wilds on quite a while wilds unfold. you could reasonably ask, are any of those outcomes worth that scale of expenditure to obtain? also thenk i suspect panel probably agrees that the scale of u.s. interests engaged in the conflict is somewhere in the real but limited neighborhood. the stakes that the united states bases in afghanistan today involves some combination of the use of afghan territory as a base for terrorists to attack us, as mike put that. that is a real problem but not unique to afghanistan. there are lots of pieces of real estate around the world where al qaeda or the islamic state or any of dozens of other violent militant groups are not now but might be in the future.
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dothe way we are going to with this generation-long problem, how do we cope with islet extremism -- violent extremism, is we are going to sent 24,000 american soldiers where they are not now, we will run out of dollars and soldiers a long time before violent extremists run out of real estate. i suspect the more compelling american state in afghanistan is regional stability, which is code language for whether pakistan collapses or not. pakistan is right across a very porous international border in the form of a line from afghanistan. and ethnic group which is associated with an insurgency is a cross-border population. pakistan is engaged in an insurgency and a counterinsurgency war of its own, that by some metrics is not going terribly well for them. if the pakistanis lose their
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war, than a nuclear weapons state with a large and growing oflear arsenal and dozens violent extremist groups that do not like islamabad and do not like washington could then plausibly be a setting in which military and intelligence services break up if the state loses its war and collapses, and danger that anme actual usable nuclear weapons could fall in the hands of terrorists who might use them against ourselves or our allies. that is a real threat to u.s. national interests, and collapse on the afghan side of the line could create these can't in afghanistan -- can create base camp's in afghanistan by which pakistanis could pursue an agenda that is dangerous to the night sates. although that is a real problem for us, note that would require a whole series of uncertain
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events breaking badly for us in sequence. u.s. counterinsurgency campaign would have to fail. the afghan government would have to fall. pakistani insurgents would have campe.up base intelligence services break up. impossible an sequence of events. the compound probability is probably less than 50% and maybe a lot less than 50%. happens, it would be a disaster for u.s. interests of historic magnitude, but it is a low-probability chain of events. what then are we willing to invest in afghanistan to have some marginal influence, not a guarantee of success. pakistan might lose its war anyway. to reduce the likelihood of this
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badly,f bad events going and that is a judgment call that reasonable people can make differently. in the past i have been supportive of the war because i think no probability events, if they are ugly enough, and this one is way up there in the ugly ofle, are worth some degree investment. reasonable people can make that judgment call differently depending on your risk tolerance, as an analyst i cannot tell you what your risk tolerance should be. some of you are probably invested in the stock market. some may be washington nats fans. [laughter] mr. biddle: there are all sorts of variations. on the merits it is a close call if you decide you are willing to incur that risk or you are willing to incur that cost reduce that risk. what is the sensible way to reduce the risk the most for the money that we spend?
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part of the plausible policy agenda opened us at the moment is reinforcements to the advisory effort and a change in the roles of engagement for the use of air power. especially the latter could be quite helpful. the other important avenue that is open to us that is not terribly expensive in financial terms is to get serious about the negotiating process. we are not going to defeat the taliban and, and the advisory effort will not invade -- and it afghan government to defeat the taliban. with some combination of the advisory effort, american intelligence assistance, equipment, other initiatives we may pursue in afghanistan is was only to do is maintain a stalemate. of thed change the slope curve on territorial control, make it a bit more shallow, 80 make it a bit positive.
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we're not going to kick the taliban out of the country. we probably are not going to see a telegram takeover even if -- a taliban takeover even if we do not make a show of force. my guess is either way what we're talking about is something most people would describe as a stalemate and issue is what variation on stalemate doing want as a version of how we plan our military posture. i tend to be pessimistic on what security assistance can do. i do not think a central barrier to the performance of the afghan national security forces at the moment is how much training their junior officers have. i think the primary barrier to the performance of the forces are profound, structural issues having to do with the institutionalization of the afghan state and the consequences of that for military performance. more on that in just a moment. where i think our policy probably has the most marginal influence on outcomes is with
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respect to the way we handle the problem of negotiation. better than afghan state collapse and return to 1990's style civil warfare amounts to a negotiated settlement. what the military campaign is doing between now and whenever that happens or does not happen is we are just changing at the margin the terms of the settlement that will result. onlyttlement is the alternative to outright to feet, defeat, failure, if the government collapses. that means if we are going to spend money and if we're going to send troops and if we are going to risk american lives in the advisory campaign, we have to be serious about the settlement prospect because that is the only point of doing this. and yet we have no assistant secretary of state for south
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asian affairs. as an acting official in that job, we did away with the office of special representative for afghanistan and pakistan whose job description was to act as a czar for development of a negotiating strategy. the contact of the campaign in afghanistan as far as i can tell -- and this goes all the way back to when mike and i were traveling there and back to my time on general mcchrystal's assessment team -- has never been conceived of as the military arm of a combined political military negotiating strategy. what we have had and i think unfortunately continue to have is a campaign plan that looks like let's -- and at some unspecified point in it somewhat unspecified future there will be somewhat an
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unspecified negotiation that will produce a better partition of the state than without it, and i do not think that is responsible policy for a democracy that is killing people in the name of the state and spending tens of billions of dollars in the project. i think we can reasonably demand of our government some is theation of what strategy for getting to a negotiated settlement and includingfort, staffing out the relevant parts of the government that would be regard actually get a settlement.eed the one element i would add to the agenda of what is hard for seriousness in a negotiation is it is going to a parcel horse trading on capital hill --
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capitol hill biden administration that is willing to spend political capital rather than money on this campaign. as we saw in 2012 when the obama administration did this semi deal with the taliban where an exchange with the taliban for sergeant bowe bergdahl, we were going to release a small number of detainees from guantanamo bay, and that was intended as a confidence-building measure to start the negotiating progress. capitol hill melted down. there was huge opposition -- how can you release these terrorists from guantanamo bay? the administration withdrew the deal. the talks collapsed and went into deep freeze on which they have only very imperfectly recovered. reasonable people can disagree over whether or not even with a properly staffed negotiating
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strategy, even with some willingness to build a constituency on capitol hill for compromised deal so another bergdahl-taliban deal meltdown does not happen, whenever compromised negotiating proposals with a taliban are the field, you can get a deal. i'm on the optimistic end of that spectrum. mike may be less so. we can turn into what the negotiating space would look like. it is all important what we are discussing. somewhere one not the reasonably optimistic and of that spectrum with respect to the negotiating prospects, steady as she goes has not been a viable strategy because it is not going to win the war. up the can do is tee settlement, that if the settlement is not coming, we ought not to be doing this.
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what we have is dangerously close to steady as she goes and hope for a miracle. keep the war on life support, maintain the stalemate, prevent the taliban from gaining momentum, and expect that sometime in the future somehow in a way that we are not going to articulate, we will get to a settlement that lots of people are skeptical can occur. that is not responsible policy for democracy. we should reasonably ask more of our leaders in terms of articulating the logic by which our expenditures and our military effort and our advising produces a settlement that is better for us than simply government collapse in kabul. [applause] >> hope for a miracle is a segue
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for what i'm going to talk about. 2001 the taliban did not control afghanistan. 2017 after 16 years of significant efforts, freedom house assesses afghanistan as not free. transparency international rates the afghan government as more corrupt than 96% of all governments in the international system. in addition to being corrupt, the afghan government and its security force are incompetent. the talent than currently control or contest approximately 45% of the country, more than at any time since they were last in power in 2001. to uniteding a threat states of america, the taliban themselves have never conducted a strike in the homeland, and al enjoy which has, and did century in afghanistan, has not conducted in a cap -- an attack
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since 2009. bee havens, al qaeda can found in pakistan, somalia, and yemen. very few fighters you will find in afghanistan. i would argue it is long overdue for the withdrawal of u.s. military forces to bring them home. my arguments are the intelligence -- the threat does not warn our continued presence thefghanistan, and, two, strategy we have used for 16 years, the world's most exquisite, datable military force, like this wonderful shiny hammer, is more writing muslim-majority states and whacking the terrorists and hoping all we killed was the terrorist and not somebody else. to begin, the threat does not justify our presence in afghanistan. so here is the chart of 50 years of data on exactly how many americans are murdered each year
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in the homeland. question for today is, how many of them were murdered by islamists-inspired terrorists, and by someone else? the green bar's adjust it is always someone else who does murdering in the united states. is not islamist-inspired to restrict in only one year can you detect the effect of islamist-inspired terrorists. that was 2001. the 2001 9/11 attacks were unprecedented. it since orseen prior. it is an outlier event. twice as many human beings there's that they can in any other terror attack in history. it is important to note in contrast to that large-scale terror attacks almost never take place in the west in north america, much less in the united states of america. our worst terror attack outside 9/11 is timothy mcveigh in 1995 when he tilde hundred 68
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in oklahoma city. the second-most in north america and that is going back 32 years sikh extremists killed 329 in canada. it is important to note in 2000 want her homeland security efforts were different than they are today. remember all the hijackers made it into our country legally using their real identities. all the pilots receive their technical training here. he idea that this training was done in afghanistan, maybe they shot two rounds at of an ak-47. the training was done in united states. one of the hijackers lived with his fight instructors. two hijackers left the united states on vacation and
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successfully argued their way back into our country by assuring american ins agents they were authorized to be here because they were students. they argued we are pilot-training students. it is not a thing on the american system. that is a different time, and i'm trying to drive home the point they operated as freely in the united states of america as they did in any other safe haven. if you are concerned if safe allns, we have eliminated in united states. argumentake a definite that the terror threat today is more intense in its animus to the united states than previous terror campaigns. whathey are limited in they can do here and limited because of our homeland security efforts, not because of our military operations abroad. that is what i want to turn to next. our military-centric combat power can solve this riddle
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approach we can use for 60 years now is not working. the first argument that you have heard is that we need to protect america, and way we're going to do it is we're going to take the fight to the enemy. we are going to kill and capture them overseas so they do not come into the home and tomorrow with the argument. you have more than 30 years of data capture here. the main point is on average less than one islamist-inspired terrorist attack takes place in homeland every year for the past three decades, and they kill only a handful. comparisons of the numbers of each and we kill, and this is regular americans murdering each other, does not seem to cause much concern. yet potentially six or so killed by an islamist covenants inspired terror attack, and every year you have 50,000 americans killed by another american, and somehow one is much more concerning than the other. the second article we here is we
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must defeat al qaeda, and it was al qaeda and all terror groups of global reach. at the time according to our state department and an organization out of stanford, there were practically 13 such groups. al qaeda was the number one. they had approximately 32,000 members, potential fighters. 16 years we have invaded two countries, toppled three regions, and conducted military responses in a number of nations. 10,000ng nearly hundred adherents. if somebody want to make the argument how the military strategies doing well, i would love to hear that in the lunch session because the logical implication that all of our military efforts have not achieved the main goals we're looking at. sub point to the previous. we've conducted strikes as part of the war on terror in seven
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muslim-majority countries. you're supposed to be able to see three bars here, a bar that represents the average number of tax in the 14 years prior to 2001, a bar for 2001, and a bar for the 14 years after 2001. with the exception of pakistan, you only see the bars afterwards. all the terror activity that we are experiencing today did not precede but followed u.s. military strikes in the u.s. alter strategy to combat the war on terror. all right. i went to switch to my final point, and this is a leak argument. you will hear people say we're in afghanistan to prevent the taliban from returning to power, and that is linked to the idea that if the taliban returns to power, afghanistan will again be a safeco th -- a safe haven for terrorists. i will make two quick points. the first year, the taliban in
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2001 controlled almost the entirety of the country, and they did that with 35,000 security forces. 16 years later, afghanistan had a 382,000 member of security force, and they are barely able to control or contest half of their country. in addition to having more than 10 times the street forced than what the taliban had 16 years ago, he had had us fighting for them, and for many years we were doing the fighting, then we were fighting alongside, world-class training going on, advising, equipping billions of u.s. dollars going to stand up for the security force, billions of u.s. dollars going into trying to get the coming going, because that is the subject underlying agreements spoke about earlier. -- underlying grievances spoke about earlier. if you're concerned about safe havens, afghanistan is at the back of the line. the current terror safe havens for al qaeda and groups like that are not in afghanistan.
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syria, iraq, nigeria, a total of seven countries before you have to worry about afghanistan. if the argument is a compelling one, there is plenty of other places we should be directing our attention rather than afghanistan. conclusion, my prayer marry argument is the withdrawal of u.s. forces is long overdue and the argument today is one the threat to americans hearing the homeland does not warned our presence there in afghanistan. the second point is the military strategy we have emphasized has clearly failed to achieve the objectives. thank you. [applause] >> so what i have managed to do as a moderator is to cut into my own time. but it was because i enjoyed listening to these presentations. i do not feel that badly about it. i want to leave sufficient time for those in the audience to ask a few questions. i want to pick up on -- i want
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to exercise my privilege on one point. i want to come back mostly to steve biddle's remarks because i prospecth him that the of a negotiated settlement being acceptable politically here in the united states is vanishingly small. the concessions that the united states made to the taliban as part of the all trade -- part of the bowe bergdahl trade is so much less than the concessions we would be party to any event of a negotiated political settlement in afghanistan that left the taliban at least as partners in some sort of power-sharing agreement. this is a question for the panelists as well for those of you in the audience. bel we americans ever willing to tolerate something in
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afghanistan that does not look like unadulterated victory, which all panelists have said is not a realistic process -- prospect, and if we americans are not willing to accept anything less than an undertreated victory, then are we not in fact merely on a steady as she goes, hope for a miracle, and in the meantime sustain the appearance of not losing? because we will not actually accept a victory that is not -- that does not look like august of 1945. so that is my observation. in one quick question, -- and one quick question, going back to max's anecdote. i think i got this quote right. sir, he does not think we are welcomed here, or words to this
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is being translated, right? sir, he does not think we are welcome here, so my question to the palace is, does that matter? how much do that matter? accumoli said it is better to be feared than loved. we know for a simple the change in the rules of engagement that have been approved by president thep are increasing incidence of civilian casualties inside of a afghanistan, while the goal of the militaries to strike the right people, and i respect that. we have weakened and soften the rules of engagement to increase the likelihood of civilian casualties. howow much does it matter much support we're getting inside of the government and does not a strategy that cars us to use force more permissivelyl under the rules we put in place under general mcchrystal, does
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that itself cut against the goal of being able to stay there indefinitely and be tolerated indefinitely? i will throw that question to the four of you quickly and then i will open it up to the audience. >> you have a particular order in mind? mr. preble: no not really. mr. pappas: the issue is american assistance is sometimes -- of support. an airstrike is awesome. the idea that somewhere without any sort of danger, something about knows exactly where it needs to shoot and achieved and the thing we want it to destroy is destroyed. it is deceptive in a lot of ways. the difficulty seeing able to discern targets, the difficulty the him to make sure people on the ground have identified the proper target. a lot of this -- those are its own challenges. one of the primary issues i have with that is afghans do not have
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air support. they do not have -- there is no afghan support that say they will provide air support. if we are talking about training and organization to survive on its own without continuing american sports, airstrikes are probably not the solution. the solution is teaching them how to use their assets, teaching them how to maneuver and fire and fight on the ground in those situations. the solution is not teach them, as afghans who are not going to have this once the americans with the radio leaves, the solution is not teach them, if your under fire, a gridiron -- down, and -- hunker wait for the americans were. it is not good military tactics. it is unfortunate that what we teach whenever we are in a bad situation, that is what we are instructing the afghans. do not worry, america is coming, we are bringing a bomber, and
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we're not going to be there all the time. >> three quick points and results your question about our long-term staying power or the welcome we receive. number one, port overall public opinion in afghanistan towards the united states has always been much better than in iraq, but that is relative to a low standard, and it has to generate at the. it was extremely high. afghanistan was extremely pro-american after the overthrow of the taliban. sincethose numbers steve and i have been there, the numbers were often somewhere around 50%, and now they are probably continuing to decline as people get frustrated with the war. second point, there are a number of afghan officials, reformers, leaders who want us there either because they know they are not yet up to doing the job themselves, they need to build you,ir force or what have or because we provide a little bit of an honest broker affect even among people who do not
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like us. are not taking sides between passion and other groups. we do not have carried or its -- we do not have favorites. the third point, and here i will be wary of this afghan support. there are people who want us there because we are the sugar theies, we're providing influx of resources, and they have learned to feed off of that. that is a fundamental challenge to the mission, and despite my slight hopefulness about ghani's government improvement, there's still a huge amount of corruption in afghanistan, so people want us there for the wrong reason. >> the quick word on each of your two points. foreign troops are never welcome. they are often tolerated when the population believes they are thating something would not be there other ways. more commonly is security. example that is relevant to afghanistan. when we were present in anbra,
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anbar, we were perceived as causing the violence and we were lethally unwelcome. when violence declined and the perception in anbar that the american search had something to do with this, the presence was tolerated. i was able to walk through bodyjah without armor. we were not going to win any popularity contests, that our presence was tolerated because it was perceived our presence was the price to the end of the violence. and people wanted the violence over. the worst case to be in is when you are there in numbers large enough to be irritating, but too small to solve the problem. and unfortunately that is kind of where we have been in afghanistan a great deal of the time. quoting -- and have only done it once today.
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they want said no one across a wide chasm would begin by jumping halfway. and the problem with these halfway presences is that they are enough to create into by these, -- anti-bodies. that has not always been true. our presence in germany, in south korea, we have been present in other places where the responses been different in part because people thought we were defending them from's the soviet union or north carolina area and they valued something for exchange for the indignity of having foreign troops on your sore. what americans ever be willing politically to tolerate a deal with a telegram? in principle, the answer could be yes, but this is not necessarily. i cited the bowe bergdahl case. the case for arguing it might be possible with the proper amount of political investment and engineering would be first of
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all it is always been striking to me at least in the last 10 years how close to completely invisible the war in afghanistan has been in american domestic politics. people periodically make claims about the american public does not want the presence in afghanistan. the american public to believe prioritizes afghanistan 12th out of 10 in things that they want their electives officials to be working on. to remarkable degree in american a history ofin democracies waging wars, afghanistan is largely a vote of conscience for practically every elected official in america. you would need an electron microscope to detect the effect of the afghan issue on any action outcome in any district in america, i suspect. s politicalt salience is so low, i think it is susceptible to some degree of
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orthodox political engineering to read use the downside political risk of a settlement by pointing out to key committee chairman, by pointing out the people in your own party, this president is theoretically a republican, the opposition to the are called deal was overwhelmingly republican. it is not impossible to imagine a president who cared enough about the outcome to spend money and risk lives would be willing to make a political effort to persuade hopkins on capitol hill that the alternative to this deal is outright failure. and i think you could imagine someone willing to invest that kind of capital, persuading enough key voices from his own party on capitol hill to make a sustainable, but it will not happen on autopilot. it will not happen if you spring a deal on people that involves concessions to the hated taliban at the last minute and provide
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opportunities for lots of people who have become quite irritated at you for various reasons to take advantage of the occasion. it requires some degree of seriousness. erik has yielded back the balance of his time. mr. preble: we have a few minutes here. d rules.roun -- a few ground rules. at the cato institute, questions are in the form of questions. 's, please. please wait for the microphone, and please identify yourself and your affiliation. i will group that presence right here and then right there. go ahead, sir. independent consultant. my question is the following -- i agree with the analysis about the negotiations, but i have not heard anyone speak about the
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other parties that have to come to this table, which is the afghan government and a historically fractions tribal structure that has influence. i agree longer term or maybe in a shorter term, that is the right strategy, but how do you convince these two other groups it is in their best interest to yield? mr. preble: yes, sir. mr.poepner, you talked about the struggle. you imagine you would be of the negotiate your way or just get out? the second comment -- i worked 15 years up in the senate, and i randed recently senator paul got 39 votes on a new other on a new authorization
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for military force because people are involved in all these foreign conflicts. the politics of this issue is changing. the first question is mostly to you, steve. gettingle: as far as the afghan government involved, one of the reasons i say this summit is coming in six months or year or two, is any thirst would save this is going to be an unusually complicated negotiation because there are so many parties involved, and the afghan government is not a monolithic participant. communities and then north of the country are very nervous about what will be negotiated away in this kind of settlement and had historically have been opposed to negotiating. passionhern passions ashtuns have been more supportive.
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that of course trading process that will have to occur within the afghan government before they can formulate a consistent negotiating stance. part of this internal negotiating process, which will will try toghan, influence it at the margin, but at the end of the day, this is going to be a horse trading process, largely within the afghan side of the talks. part of this will be i suspect tacitly identifying red lines that the government will not go below and the compromises they are willing to make, so things which iss education, much more favored in the north of the country than in the south. it might very constitute a redline. things like provincial governorship control. it probably will and should be a redline that the afghan government should not be willing to negotiate a taliban kandahar or in
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helman provinces. part of the process is currently on the afghan side, the afghan president leverages, take it clear to political leaders, especially in the north, but some extent in the west that are red lines they are not going to interestsand your will be respected. part of this is necessarily going to be horse trading. united states is going to have to sweeten these kinds of deals, and we have at our disposal for a great deal less than what we're spending for an advisory presence a fair amount of freedom for deal sweetening. mike is the expert for budgeting, so i will trade into this with fear and trembling. didcommon kentucky when rule of thumb for the cost of keeping an american in a combat
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zone for year is about a million dollars. if we are talking about an ofisor presence in the area $24,000 -- 24,000, that is about $1 billion. you would use that by 10,000, you have a lot of economic aid to create an incentive for those within afghanistan to cooperate with a deal. this is a very complicated political engineering process which is one of the reasons why i find it frustrating that we ave basically depopulated fair part of the apparatus of the u.s. government that would normally be expected to do the political intelligence work and the negotiating work and the management of this kind of a complicated process because it is very complicated. erik, can you speak to a second question?
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mr. goepner: either way from an american perspective is fine. the american military presence is inadvertently causing the problem. quite riveting forces, we are taking a positive action to lower the grievance against the united states. if you go back to al qaeda, we're not their primary enemy. their primary enemy was local. atwas about political power the local level. the only reason they struck us, if we do not strike the far enemy, we will name of her be able to supplant our near enemy, which is our goal. my argument is the withdrawal of forces is a positive step for the united states to decrease the amount of terror activity or interest directed towards us. so whether it is concurrent with negotiating or absent the negotiation from an american for second, i do not think it matters. i agree this is a generational
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strider -- struggle. statesot the united struggle. this is all about grievance, political power, frustration, goal achievement in the middle east or central asia. none of these groups are fundamentally about coming to the united states. that is not any of their mission statement. they only do it as a target of opportunity to get some other local goal they are trying to achieve. should we have a vote on a new authorization to use military force? >> yes, as good government. >> yes, but i do not want to see the existing one lost. >> i abstain from that one. mr. preble: two more questions. right there and behind the line there. yes, sir. go ahead. >> hi. i met fellow at cato.
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is for professor o'hanlon. -- discussed in your remarks i wonder how your assessment how do you feel about this? want, oromething they is this the price they have to run?for security in long can you discuss the economy and its reliance on the opium trade? .n. office reported a 42% increase last you, and i wonder what kind of effect that would have on the negotiation. mr. preble: last question. >> i'm a foreign service officer. i spent almost six years in afghanistan. took a year off to recuperate. saw quite a bit putting 2009 and 2015, and i was the -- in
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kandahar when we close down our civilian platform. in the midst of this, i saw quite a bit, and there was one glorious moment in the middle where we actually had a joint strategy. where the 3-d is in all this thinking, where we beingis military strategy cooked up. i came from a meeting where they are talking about the national security strategy that is not quite there yet. is that even in your calculus? where people sitting in kabul for year and do not see beyond the walls of the embassy. mr. preble: max, you want to take either of those mr. pappas: in terms of the opium economy. frankly, my first little expressed in afghanistan, they spent time having grapes. grapes used to be famous.
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pears? a fruit that drew on a tree. the important part of that is in you need topes, make sure nobody destroys your vineyard during the year you are growing grapes. thetrees, apricots, that is one. you can sell those as much as opium. however, it took five or six years before they would actually give fruit. if you are in afghanistan and making an investment with an expected churn in six years, you are a full because there was no reason for them to believe in six years they were able to do it. opium, two harvests year. a lot of money. they had a willing buyer. in 2011 in kandahar being there we had american bases in the middle of vast fields of
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marijuana, and we were eradicating drugs, but it did not solve the problem. there was no alternative to that. and so we spent time in 2010 tried to develop with usda how you make your yields of other crops more productive. until the u.s. -- until the afghan government -- we will have to leave this event and go live to the house as they are coming in for general speeches. live to the house floor. e speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. october 10, 2017. i hereby appoint the honorable brian k. fitzpatrick to act as peaker pro tempore on this day. signed,

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